The Pacific University Football team was predicted to finish fourth in the Northwest Conference preseason poll behind Whitworth University, Linfield College and George Fox University. These predictions place the top four teams in the exact spots they finished last season.
The Boxers will need players to step up on both sides of the ball. Lucky for offense, the bulk of their production returns this season with their top four receivers and leading rusher Junior Josh Harris.
Among the four receivers are Junior Ty Hargis and Senior Kobe Williams. Hargis and Williams combined for 114 of the Boxers 233 receptions last season and seven of the 17 receiving touchdowns. The two have become a well-balanced duo with Hargis picking his spots in the middle of the field and short game, while Williams constantly threatens the defense with his top end speed and big play potential.
The one question mark for the Boxers offensive is quarterback. Last season, now Senior Bret Yap served as JT Greenough’s back-up going 6-6 with 63 yards for the season. Although Yap managed the game well when called upon, his limited experience is something to be conscious of.
The competition could be stiff for Yap as well with fellow Senior Dante Reid returning from a season long knee injury and Junior Kenyon Harris getting one more year to learn the system.
Defensively the Boxers will rely heavily on the senior leadership after losing two first-team All-Conference players in Tristin Smith and Bobby Ulrich.
Senior Tui Tuietele, along with Junior defensive back Declan Brown, who grabbed himself 35 tackles and one of the teams six interceptions, had impressive seasons in 2018 and will look to build upon them early this year.
The Boxers have been known for their defense, last year leading the conference in fumbles recovered and coming second in sacks. For the defense to continue this success these two will be key factors moving forward.
The Boxers will start their season at home playing Chapman University at 7 p.m. at Ledbetter Field.